Leicestershire Police & Crime Commissioner visits Ashby to hear concerns about growing drugs problems in the town

By Graham Hill

6th May 2023 | Local News

Rupert Matthews met with (l-r) Kenny Horn, Dan Harrison and Kate and Pejman Zamani. Photo: Ashby Nub News
Rupert Matthews met with (l-r) Kenny Horn, Dan Harrison and Kate and Pejman Zamani. Photo: Ashby Nub News

Leading Ashby figures welcomed Leicestershire's Police & Crime Commissioner, Rupert Matthews, this week to discuss growing concerns over drug use in the town.

The then-Ashby councillor Dan Harrison issued the invite to Mr Matthews who then met with him and the owners of Zamani's restaurant, Pejman and Kate, along with soon to be elected town and district councillor Kenny Horn.

They are worried that Ashby is becoming a town where drug deals are happening on an all too regular basis.

Some feel that the town's pubs are being used to sell drugs - but that local landlords and managers are keen for police to step in and put a stop to it.

Cllr Harrison told Ashby Nub News: "It's a collaboration of different people and the Police & Crime Commissioner is an essential fulcrum in all of that.

"We wanted to invite Rupert to the town and get him to listen to our concerns based upon some of the drug elements in the town.

"We're of a view that if licensed premises would work with the teams wanting to bring dogs in then it would make for a safer society.

"I've had an email from a resident saying this is going on at 3,4 or 5 in the morning. They're not nice things that are happening.

"It is concerning, it's gone through town council and a lot of people are talking about this.

"It needed something to drag all these elements together and we wanted to get Rupert involved.

"We felt we needed some help and support on this.

"I hope this is the catalyst that will move us on to the next level.

"But we're still not making the breakthrough despite speaking to local police at town council.

"This initiative is brand new and different, to be able to take dogs in and organise it.

"That involves the police and there is considerable cost to that as to how we bring it together and get the funding for it.

"We need this support, we cannot do this on our own. This is the start of being positive and doing something about it."

Pejman said that, as a prominent businessman in the town, that he was starting to notice an increase in the problems - and that it was visible on the streets.

He said: "Everyone in Ashby knows that we have this big issue with bikes going around, with people distributing.

"I came here 30 years ago, and the town we had then, compared to the one we have now, are two completely different things.

"It's got to that stage. I have an interest in Ashby as a market town, I know a lot of people in Ashby, so maybe my voice can be heard.

"This isn't political. We have problems here. I hope we can have a clean up and get back the reputation of this town."

Kate added that the town's Pubwatch can also play a part.

She said: "We're very active and meet once a month - we've been looking at this for a while. That communication is key.

"But it's the funding that's related to it.

"I would say the licensees are very positive and active, but it's case of bringing the whole thing together."

Mr Matthews said he would be taking the issues on board as a result of his visit to Ashby.

He said: "I cannot give orders, that's for the Chief Constable, but I can do some 'prodding' at the other end and ask questions.

"If I know what the right question to ask is, I can get quite a bit done.

"I can asking about the costs of getting drugs dogs into Ashby.

"If you were to ask how many police are on the beat in Ashby, on paper it looks great.

"But the problem is how many times they are taken away to look at something else.

"That is the problem, it's an issue.

"I've got a report coming in June which will give all the data on that.

"There will also be another one on 999 response times."

There have been suggestions that police should have a point of contact in Ashby with the nearest police stations being in Coalville, or in Swadlincote.

Mr Harrison added: "This is what we would like to work towards. Maybe one of our vacant shops could be used, even if it's on a 9-5 basis.

"It'd be a good feel for the community, they could feel safer."

     

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